The thought of run commuting can be a daunting one. When I first started, I was convinced that I had to run in both directions, to and from work, carrying everything I needed for the day. It was intense, and often felt like I was running uphill both directions. But then someone told me that they only ran to or from work, and that made run commuting far more approachable. It was a new outlook for me.
But the type of gear that works for my run commute, might not work for yours. To get a sense of how real people — with real jobs — commute to work, we surveyed some. Below, they each share their top pieces of gear, what their commutes are like on foot and what their philosophy is when it comes to run commuting.
Nicholas Thompson, Editor in Chief at Wired
The Editor in Chief of Wired, Nick Thompson, used to run almost eight and a half miles to get to work. He still runs to work, albeit to the luminous World Trade Center instead of Times Square. To make it work, he leaves suits in the office, then showers at the New York Sports Club around the corner. He’s currently running in the Asics Gel Kayanos. “They’re good on city streets and limit plantar fasciitis,” Thompson says. He’s also testing the ON Cloud X. A fanny pack is “best for carrying my keys and cell phone,” says Thompson, and AirPods “do a good job of not falling out when cutting through traffic,” he adds. And as for tees, Thompson says he likes to “wear reflective colors, particularly in the winter.”
Mark-Anthony Gilbert, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Nurse
Based in NYC, Gilbert is a runner with the Black Roses, one of the fastest running crews in NYC. He’s also a nurse at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. “I typically run commute three to four days a week from my job on the Upper East Side to my home in Bedford-Stuyvesant,” Gilbert says. “It’s a nice run since I get to cross both the Queensborough Bridge and the Pulaski with its perfect views of the New York City skyline.” In total, it’s a six and a half mile commute.
“For apparel, I usually stick to Nike tops and shorts, and in cooler months, I’ll wear a vest,” Gilbert says. “I love the Nike Pegasus 35. It’s got nice cushion for when I want to take it easy, but is also responsive with some good bounce for nights I either need to rush home, or just pick up the tempo. I’ve had the Patagonia Nine Trails Pack for almost two years, and it has great storage for my clothes, lunchbox and water bottle. I typically get off work at 9 P.M., so it’s dark out. I’ll clip a Nathan Strobe Light clip to the front of my pack and one on the back.”
Matt Imberman, Coach at Brooklyn Distance Running
Imberman’s life is a balancing act — he’s a running coach for Brooklyn Distance Running, an antique jewelry dealer and has two young kids. Most of his training occurs running to or from work, so he uses the time to log about 10 miles. He’ll take clothes to work at the beginning of the week, then leave some running gear at work so he can run home.
Essentials include his Nike Epic Reacts — “it’s hard to find a shoe that runs well and looks decent enough to wear if it’s a casual day at the office or you’re running to meet friends at the bar,” Imberman says. He also swears by zip lock bags for when he needs to keep his phone dry.
Michael Wardian, International Ship Broker
Wardian is known throughout the Washington DC area because of his run and bike commuting adventures as well as his accomplishments as a competitive runner. In 2006, he raced five marathons in 45 days — winning four of them. His tips for beginners include spending some time planning out your meals, especially if you’re carrying everything, and to really double down on the gear. “I work in my boss’s house, where there’s a shower,” Wardian says, “but when I first started there was no such luxury, so I had to figure out how to not smell all day. Especially, if you have to meet with clients, there are ways to do that. Find a gym close to the office where you can shower, and most offices have some personal space, so I’ll put a suit, shirts, underwear, socks, ties, belt and a nice pair of shoes, and then I can change into those when I need to see clients and look professional.”
While he’s running up to 8 miles into the office, he’ll listen to a podcast. “I’m a podcast geek. I will bore you with all the podcasts I enjoy, but here are five great ones that I love: Planet Money, Fantasy Focus Podcast, Ultrarunner Podcasts, Ear Hustle, RadioLab.”
Gordon Wright, President of OutsidePR
As the founder of Outside Public Relations based in San Francisco, Wright is no stranger to running gear. While his total commute both directions is 15.4 miles, he tends to only run that entire length when he’s in full-on training mode. When he’s not training for big races, Wright will drive part of the way to work, park his car, and then run to work from there. It’s a good compromise.